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O Christmas Tree with Lauren – Chalkboard Christmas Trees

Hello all you lovely Chicken Scratch NY readers. I’m Lauren & I blog over at Tutus & Tea Parties about parenting, crafting and a few things in between. I’d love for you to stop by & say hello! 

 {yep, we’re crazy!}


I’m so happy to be here today to share an easy Christmas tutorial with you. 

“O, Christmas Tree”

Wedding Guest Post: ChiWei from One Dog Woof

Hello everyone!  Wedding season is in full swing and I’m so happy to be here on Chicken Scratch sharing a little bit about my own wedding from almost 5 years ago!  
Alecia wanted us to talk about the DIY aspects to our weddings, and I feel like I spent my entire engagement in front of the tv working on crafts for the wedding, but I don’t seem to have a whole lot of pictures to show for it!  So we’ll just take a quick tour of the DIY aspects with the pictures that I do have 🙂
Drew and I got married at Locust Grove, the Samuel Morse House (yes, that Morse guy) back in 2007, and we were lucky to have had a gorgeous day to get hitched on the beautiful grounds of the estate.  Since there wasn’t an area meant to hold seating and have a focus point, we bought ourselves a wrought iron archway from a local flea market to use as our altar and had flower petals strewn along the “aisle”.  That archway is now in our backyard and will be holding up the beans in my garden this year!
Our guest book was a coffee table book of the Hudson Valley, detailing the journey of the Hudson River from its beginnings in the Adirondacks all the way to New York Harbor.  I wanted something that I can display and read and enjoy, and our friends could sign on pages that talked about favorite hikes or spots from around town.  Plus, if we ever moved, this would be a souvenir in more ways than one.  Most people ended up signing the inside cover, but it was a treat to look through the book afterwards to find the odd love note on a random page.
We didn’t have any flowers at the ceremony other than the bouquets, since we were in a garden anyways.  For the reception, the hall had high ceilings, so I felt we needed tall centerpieces to balance out the architecture.  We ended up finding semi-matching vases at HomeGoods for $10 each (score!), filled them with lemons bought wholesale, and topped it off with an arrangement from the florist.  The arrangement for the cocktail hour was of the same style, but had flowers in water instead of lemons filling the vase.
One of my favorite creative bursts was for the menu.  We had 4 courses for dinner, so I made little origami mouth thingies for each place setting. (didn’t we used to play M.A.S.H on these things?)  I have no idea what these mouths are actually called.  Anyways, each side listed a course, and you could open up the flap to see the description for the course.  I made one, wrote on it, deconstructed it to where the words ended up on a flat sheet of paper, designed a template in Microsoft Word and had a bunch printed up at the local print shop.  Then I sat home and folded them all into the little mouth shapes while watching a Law and Order marathon.  The overall vision was for these guys to sit on each plate like lotus flowers, so I bought gold-wrapped kisses to use as the flower center.
The other creative burst I had was for our favors.  Our wedding cake had cupcakes on it, so each guest’s favor was a matching cupcake packaged in a chinese take-out box and wrapped in coordinating ribbon.  I made up little tags for each one that had the Chinese character for “love”, as well as a short thank you note. 
The rest of the table setting included some simple tealights, rose petals from the two-toned roses featured in my bouquet, and simple table numbers that I had printed on cardstock and displayed on picture holders from Target.
That’s it!  Overall, the wedding was just a casual, festive party with good food, good friends and good music.  We tried to keep everything simple and elegant while incorporating our personalities, since details do matter, but not as much as the reason we were all there in the first place!
To see more from our special day, check out what we ate (since food was the majority of our budget), and how I ended up wearing my mother’s wedding outfit!
Thanks Alecia for this wonderful opportunity and Best Wishes for your wedding and your marriage!  May you be the perfect blushing bride and live happily ever after!
Thanks so much for sharing your awesome ideas. I especially loved the tall lemon-filled centerpieces. I hope you guys are enjoying this series and your long weekend! Thanks to bendryl and computer hiccups that’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll have some really fun stuff coming up in the next few weeks so make sure you come back!
Previous Posts from the Wedding Bells series:

Wedding Guest Post: Thrifty China and more


Hi, I’m Mary from Sweetwater Style! 
I am thrilled to be guest posting on Chicken Scratch!
I just love Alecia’s lovely blog don’t you?
Here at Sweetwater….I truly believe that “style is the perfection of your point of view”!
I am always dedicated to finding that point of view without spending a lot of money!
Alecia wants to highlight DYI ways to lower the cost of a wedding without sacrificing the style!
I am with her 100%….besides….
I think it makes the whole wedding “journey” so much more meaningful to use creativity instead of cash!!
Are YOU planning a wedding?
Then….I suggest you get yourself to the thrift shop!

Two summers ago, our daughter got married in June and our nephew in August.
The planning and preparations were almost more fun than the big days!

Both weddings and receptions were held at my brother and sister-in-law’s beautiful Willow Ridge Gardens.

 But, you ask, “What’s that got to do with Good Will?

Notice the stack of plates and the silver urn in this photo! 

Pretty….and elegant don’t you think?

We did our research….

  • the cost of china rental for the two weddings….for almost 400 guests…at least $400…Yikes!
  • OR…..paper products-less expensive….but not very elegant!

Soooo…..we began buying up lovely plates and glassware from  GOOD WILL, THRIFT STORES and GARAGE SALES!

We had RULES!

  • Nothing could cost more than a dollar… 
  • We needed dinner plates, salad plates, wine glasses and drinkware…
  • Everything should be basic white or cream colored….
  • Every piece should be something we might want to keep and use later…. 
Here are just a few of the great pieces we found!

The china worked wonderfully for the buffet and casual styled wedding!

Much better than floppy paper plates to carry around!

For the more formal sit down dinner….it was fun to coordinate the china on the tables.

Every table was unique and lovely!
We also used my collection of thrift store silver for serving and decorative accents!
I think everything looks better on silver…don’t you?  

Here are all those silver trays put to good use at another wedding for the cupcake service!

Now for the best part!
Both those Brides from two years ago split up the china pieces they liked….
and they have enough lovely place settings to use at almost any gathering for years to come!

In fact….I might just have to borrow some of this from the Sweetwater daughter the next time I have a big party!

I have enjoyed sharing our fun way to save money on wedding china…and I hope it inspires you to get yourself out there shopping the thrift stores!

Remember….as you are in the midst of all the planning and preparation….be sure to enjoy the process!  The day will be gone in a heartbeat….but the memories will be forever!

I would love for you to hop over to Sweetwater Style and see some of the other wedding themed posts I have done!

Thanks to Alecia for letting me share with you….
Thanks so much Mary for sharing your awesome idea!

Don’t miss the other post in my DIY Wedding series:
More than a Guest Book

Would you like your wedding post featured? Email me @
ChickenScratchNY (at)

Wedding Guest Post: More than a Guest Book

Hello Chicken Scratch readers!
 I’m Veronica from Adventures of D and V

   As you could probably guess the V stands for me (Veronica) and D is for my wonderful husband and best friend Daniel. Our lives have been one adventure after another since we met. With some convincing from D, I started our blog to chronicle these adventures which so far include (but are not limited to) gluten free cooking, DIY house remodeling, decorating,hostessing, gardening, sewing, reading and growing in our relationship with each other and our Savior Jesus Christ. We would love to have you join us on our next adventure!

   Since we started our blog after we were married, I did not have a chance to share in real time all the DIY things we did for your wedding. So when Alecia asked for wedding themed posts, I was so excited! I could hardly choose which project I wanted to share with you all today. After careful consideration, I decided I wanted to share with you a project that was unique, inexpensive, and something that would last long after our wedding day was over. So this is my “more than a guest book” idea. 

   Background information: We got married on a cold December morning. Between our wedding ceremony and reception we wanted to take some pictures, but we did not want to make our guests wait a long and boring wait with nothing to do. So we arranged for a ‘hot apple cider cocktail hour’ at the reception site and had a table set up with the makings of our guest book. The table included various pens and note card sized paper. Printed on each note card was one of the following sentences:

“Advice from the heart…”
“A memory shared…”
“A blessing to you…”
“You know you’re in love when…”

We included some simple directions on a sign, directing our guests to please fill out a card (or more if they wanted) and then place the cards in a small decorative Christmas sleigh that my grandfather had build. While we finished up with pictures, our guests enjoyed recording memories and giving advice to us. After we got back from our honeymoon, we got to read through all the wonderful notes from our family and friends. We received this little box as a gift, and I knew right away it was the perfect spot to store these words of love and wisdom…
 The lid opens up and there are 4 picture sleeves hanging inside!
So I mixed prints we got from friends with our guest book cards…
 A sweet blessing from Daniel’s grandparents.
A joke from a friend.
 Great advice from family.
And special memories from everyone!
Not only was it an fun activity for our guests, we now have a great little book filled with these words of wisdom, special memories, and blessings to look back on and remember all of our friends and family who came to help us celebrate the start of our biggest adventure ~ married life!

Thanks Veronica for an awesome post!
If you have a wedding post you would like to be featured here on Chicken Scratch drop me a line at:
ChickenScratchNY {at}

Guest Post: Snickerdoodle Bread

Hi guys! I’ve got a special treat for you this weekend. Not one, but TWO fantastic Guest Posters!
First up is Julie from White Lights on Wednesday. 
I’m taking over her blog today, head over there to see what I did with the boots that made me get a tetanus shot that stopped being waterproof.
While you’re there check out her fantastic recipes (Red Lobster Biscuits? YES please!)

Hi Everyone!

I’m Julie from White Lights on Wednesday!
I’m really exciting to be sharing on Alecia’s blog today and meeting all of you!

Since we don’t really know each other, and I’m totally awesome – haha – here’s a little about me.
I live in Arizona.  Yes, it’s stupid hot in the summer.  I love to cook and bake.  I read when I can find time.  I am obsessed with freshly clean sheets, they’re amazing!  I like wine and whiskey.  Not together though…ewww.  I LOVE Love love to eat cookies.

There.  Now we can be friends.  🙂

To give you an idea of what goes on over at my blog, here are 3 of the top 5 readers’ favorite posts.

(1) Thin Mint Knock Offs
(2) Chocolate Wasted Cake
(3) Get Organized: The Blog

When I found out Alecia was my Trading Blogs partner for this round I did the usual and stalked her blog a little.  I went through old posts and read her “About Me” page to get to know my swap buddy.

I remembered this amazing looking bread I saw one night around 12:30am while I was blog hopping while hungry.  Never a good idea.  Leads to too much pinning.  I knew what to make.

I should explain my rational, hopefully my crazy train of thought will make sense.
Growing up I wanted to be a chef – shock!  But more than that I wanted to have a farm.
I was going to have a farm, breed beagles, and when my kids were grown turn my farmhouse into a bed and breakfast and be the chef.  Awesome right!
When I saw Alecia had a farm, all those memories came flooding back to me.  Childhood, home, dreams, comfort.  Nothing says comfort and nostalgia to me more than a warm loaf of bread and cinnamon.
Ya with me?
So for today…

Snickerdoodle Bread
Makes 4 mini-loaves

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat together butter, sugar, salt, and cinnamon until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beat until incorporated after each addition.  Add vanilla and sour cream, mix well.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder.  Add flour mixture to wet ingredients in two additions; mix until just combined after each addition.
  4. Spray loaf pans with non-stick spray and spoon batter in pans.  Fill 2/3 full, DO NOT over fill!!
  5. Mix topping ingredients together and distribute evenly over top of each loaf pan.  You will think there is too much of the topping.  It’s okay…use it all.
  6. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let sit for 5 minutes, then remove from the baking dishes and cool.

Christi’s recipe makes 4 mini loaves.  I was able to get 1 regular sized loaf (cook for 50 minutes to 1 hour) and 8 muffins (cook for  30 minutes) for this same recipe.

I hope you all feel transported to a simpler place in time with good food that makes you happy.
That’s what Alecia’s farm makes me think of.  Well that, and Dr. Doolittle.
Rex Harrison, not Eddie Murphy.

Thanks so much for having me Alecia.  I had an amazing time baking for you!